Publication Date: April 20, 2007
Author: Susan Szabo, Chief Business Operations Officer, Federal Student Aid
Summary: Access to NSLDS - Update #1Posted on 04-20-2007
On April 18, 2007, we announced that access to information in the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) by certain program participants was suspended until we determine if there was unauthorized use of NSLDS and until we consider options for providing NSLDS access to those entities. As we noted in the April 18 announcement, the suspension of access to NSLDS did not apply to postsecondary educational institutions or to individual students/borrowers. As was expected, we have received requests for clarification of this suspension of NSLDS access. Therefore, this update, which is likely to be the first of a number of updates, addresses issues that have come to our attention since we posted the April 18 announcement.
Batch Processes - Our suspension of access to NSLDS impacts the ability of an affected program participant to access the 'NSLDS Financial Aid Professional' website. With one exception, all program participants continue to be able to send and receive data and to update NSLDS using any of the NSLDS batch processes. The one exception is that, for the time being, we disabled the guaranty agency financial aid transcript batch process where agencies can request privacy protected information for a group of borrowers.
Sharing of PINs - We want to remind all participants, including those in the FFEL Program and institutions, that they may never request that a student/borrower release his or her Federal Student Aid PIN for any reason. In addition, program participants may not use a student/borrower's PIN even if provided unsolicited. The PIN is part of the person's electronic signature that is used for signing documents and accessing privacy protected information and, as such, may never be used by someone other than the person to whom the PIN was assigned.
Consolidation Loan Processing - We are aware that because lenders often use NSLDS to confirm the loan information provided by a borrower on a consolidation loan application, processing of consolidation loans may be delayed due to the suspension. However, the importance of protecting all borrowers' private financial information is our primary concern. As noted in the earlier announcement, we are working to restore access where appropriate and with additional safeguards as quickly as possible.
Problem Solving - We know that the suspension of NSLDS access may limit the ability of an affected program participant to assist borrowers and institutions in the resolution of data conflicts between NSLDS and other data sources. As noted above, we will work to restore access where appropriate and with additional safeguards as soon as possible.